STILL THE CHAMPION
The Oct. 10 issue marks the 23rd time Muhammad Ali has appeared on your cover (the first time was in 1963). I know because all the others are on my wall, framed. I certainly hope he decides to end his great career before you have to print a tragic No. 24, showing him in defeat.
So Muhammad Ali once again survives in the ring, only to be counted out by the writers and critics (Once More to the Well, Oct. 10). Let the WBA strip Ali of its lofty title if he doesn't fight Kenny Norton or Jimmy Young. Let Madison Square Garden deny Ali fighting privileges there. And let SPORTS ILLUSTRATED continue its tedious argument as to why he should retire. Muhammad Ali is still the heavyweight boxing champion of the world. And that is undeniable.
D. G. RUFF
Henry Aaron, Jerry West and Pelé all came to the realization that their athletic careers had come to an end. Ali, no more immortal than any of these, must now reach the same conclusion. He has been a great fighter, a talker, a social leader and a benefactor, and as long as the media are as honest and accurate as Pat Putnam was in his article, the Ali legend is in good hands.
FREDERICK M. ROSS
I was disappointed to see Muhammad Ali and Earnie Shavers on your Oct. 10 cover and four pages devoted to a mediocre fight, while only two pages were parceled out to commemorate Pelé's final game (Pelé, Pelé, Pelé). Where are your priorities? That week will not be remembered as the one in which Ali defeated what's his name; it will be remembered as the time when the great Pelé retired from soccer. We are doomed, I fear, to many more Ali vs. what's his name fights. We will never see the likes of Pelé again.
JAMES E. ABBOTT
October 23, 1977
After countless others failed to sell it, Pelé, smiling all the way, willed soccer to the American people. His real legacy, however, is that he taught all of us what a sportsman really is.
JOHN S. STEELE
On the day Pelé retired, it didn't rain. God cried.
I disapprove of your story on George Steinbrenner (Yankee Clipper, Oct. 10). Although I am not a Yankee fan, I am a New York sports fan. Over the past few years, I have watched this so-called "friend of the little guy" price most of us out of Yankee Stadium by jacking up ticket prices.
Everyone gripes about how players are out to get all they can. No wonder, with people like Steinbrenner running teams. His style, and that of M. Donald Grant, Calvin Griffith and the inimitable Charles O. Finley, is not only bad for the game, but bad for sports in general. But it seems no one, and especially not SPORTS ILLUSTRATED, is bothered by this because Steinbrenner is a winner. Well, some of us are rooting against the Yankees—not because we love the Dodgers, but because we are tired of watching a baseball team run like a shipbuilding company.
Old Bridge, N.J.
Outside of sports, there is no doubt that men like George Steinbrenner are both needed and appreciated. Within the sports world, however, things should be run differently. How can professional sports survive if men like Steinbrenner go out and buy every superstar available so that they can build a "dynasty"? Part of the fun is in watching a so-called bad team build a winner through the draft and a good farm system. Fortunately, we still can look at teams like the Baltimore Orioles and the New England Patriots to see what a solid organization can do without buying a championship team.
BRUCE J. BERNSTEIN
Colonel Jacob Ruppert bought the Yankees in 1915, but he didn't win a pennant until 1921. George Steinbrenner bought the Yanks in 1973 and they had a run at the division title in 1974 and won the pennant in 1976 and 1977. So I say, let George do it.
ROGER D. SPICKLER
South Bend, Ind.
George Steinbrenner is a great owner, never an apathetic person. He demands the utmost from all his employees, as the article stated, but look at the results. Steinbrenner obviously has Yankee pride, and he wants total effort in a winning drive toward excellence.
A SERVING OF CROW
I enjoyed the article A True Test of Talent (Oct. 2) by Larry Keith, wherein you predicted a Philadelphia-Kansas City World Series. Needless to say, the analysis went awry somewhere. The tradition that the Yankee and Dodger organizations have developed over the years is so strong that they have the extra confidence and finesse to overcome superior teams. Being a Phillie fan for the past 25 years hasn't been easy.
Great Falls, Mont.
I am enclosing a copy of the final standings in the American League's Eastern Division, along with a quote from your April 11 baseball preview: "For the first time since 1967, Baltimore has no chance to win anything."
Ninety-seven victories and one memorable division race later, I ask this: How do you like your crow, well done or burnt?
JAMES F. KILGALEN
TARKANIAN VS. THE NCAA
Having been a longtime follower of Jerry Tarkanian and his basketball programs at Pasadena City College and Long Beach State, and now at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, I read your Oct. 10 article (The Shark Gets a Ruling with Bite) with a great deal of interest.
I have no doubt that the NCAA is guilty of denying Tarkanian his rights as he has charged. However, many believe that Tarkanian violated various NCAA recruiting regulations while he was head coach at Long Beach State. The institution was punished for these violations, as were two of his former players, Glenn McDonald, now of the Boston Celtics, and Roscoe Pondexter, both of whom had to go to court before they could play out that season at Long Beach State—after the departure of Tarkanian.
It is a shame that Long Beach State and some of its players had to carry the full burden of what was partly Tarkanian's responsibility, after he had scurried off to UNLV. Tarkanian may well be innocent of all charges at UNLV, and the NCAA may well be out to get him, but it must be noted that Tarkanian never did get a chance to test the NCAA's allegations against him at Long Beach State, largely, I believe, to Tarkanian's relief, although he would apparently like us to think otherwise.
The issues are certainly clouded now, but it must be pointed out also that the NCAA is founded upon the principle of protecting the rights of all those involved. It is only because of the lack of regard for this intent that the NCAA has had to crack down on member institutions.
Three cheers for Tark the Shark! It's about time someone called the NCAA to task. Both the NCAA and the AAU have outlived their usefulness, barring some major overhauls. Both are biased power structures fighting for more and more power—the ultimate in bureaucratic control.
J. R. NANCE
GRIESE AND HIS GLASSES
Bob Griese a mechanic (Spectacles Make Him Spectacular. Oct. 10)? That's like saying Leonardo da Vinci painted by numbers. Or that Earl Weaver manages by the book. Ever since he stepped in for John Stofa, in the shadow of his own goalpost, Griese has called his own game; his intelligence, while directing his considerable but not spectacular physical gifts, has established him among the NFL's premier quarterbacks. That Griese can pass as comfortably to Nat Moore as he handed off to Larry Csonka is characteristic of his ability to exploit whatever team strengths, changing circumstances (and changing defenses) offer him.
Perhaps it is right that he is now wearing glasses. They give him an image more befitting the scholar of enemy defenses that he has always been.
An interesting sidelight on Bob Griese's new glasses is that his ophthalmologist is none other than Dr. Dave Sime, former world-record holder in the 100-yard and 220-yard dashes and in the 220-yard low hurdles. Sime might have won gold medals in the 1956 Olympics at 100 and 200 meters and in the 400-meter relay, but he was injured before the Trials. However, he returned to training for the 1960 Rome Olympics, where he was runner-up in the 100 to Armin Hary in a close finish.
LANGLEY U. MORANG
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